What's a guy to do when he's created one of the most iconic video game characters of all time, along with a platform game that fits perfectly around them?

Create another that's the polar opposite, it seems. That's what Yuji Naka, the creator of Sonic The Hedgehog, has done with Ivy the Kiwi? on iOS.

Lose the T

Where Sonic was an uber-capable, cocky, lightning-quick character, Ivy is bordering on helpless, panicky, and capable only of shuffling along like a pensioner.

While the Sonic games were all about the adrenaline-fuelled rush of speeding through each level, Ivy the Kiwi? is a far more considered and sedate affair.

Sonic offered you supreme control over the hedgehog, but in Ivy the Kiwi? you have absolutely no direct control over the wandering bird. All you can do is draw three vine-like barriers at a time to guide her and keep her from harm.

Even the punctuation is more hesitant.

Tough old bird

Those vines you draw really are very handy indeed once you've learned the subtle ins and outs of how they behave.

You can use them as ramps for Ivy to climb up, or simply as walls to stop her in her tracks and turn her about 180 degrees.

More interestingly, once you've drawn them you can pull and release the middle of the vines like elastic, with suitably propulsive results. Not only can this send Ivy upwards, but it can also smash her through barriers in later levels.

Most satisfying of all, though, is the ability to manually flick Ivy into the air in the process of drawing a vine-ramp for her. The game's pleasingly weighty physics allow you to build up a great sense of momentum as you ping the poor bird around some surprisingly challenging levels.

Level playing field

Speaking of the levels, Ivy the Kiwi? offers 50 stages set across mountains, woods, plains, and snowy towns.

While these stages - and the game has a whole - have a kind of vintage children's book feel to them, some might find the palette a little too muted for its own good. There's none of the vibrant contrast and variety of Yuji Naka's more famous offspring here.

But then, Ivy the Kiwi? is all about the subtle charms of control and calculated risk, as you try to guide Ivy to the end in as efficient a way as possible, hoovering up all ten feathers found on each stage where possible.

Endangered bird

Ivy the Kiwi?'s controls take some getting used to. On occasions the analogue vine-drawing system can clash with the game's defiantly digital 2D platformer world, with Ivy frequently getting snagged on oddly placed sections of vine, or finding a particular gradient too steep to ascend.

The only way you can remove a vine is to keep drawing new ones until the troublesome one disappears. In an otherwise elegant game, it's a very inelegant solution.

Still, when things are swinging and your mastery of the control system has you flicking the hapless bird through gaps, perilously skimming past spikes and landing neatly on the finishing platform, you can almost feel the heart of a certain blue hedgehog beating within.

You couldn't hide that from us forever, Yuji.